August 19, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Other News AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Employers bring concerns to final hearing on new overtime salary limit; public comment still open

The Department of Labor & Industries held its final public hearing last week on its proposal to set a new minimum overtime salary of $79,000. Employers said an update to the rule is necessary, but this salary threshold would cause hardships. L&I will take public comment until Sept. 6.

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Supporters asked to speak up for LNG storage facility in Tacoma

AWB is supporting Puget Sound Energy's final permitting hurdles as it builds a liquid natural gas (LNG) storage facility in Tacoma. This will allow ships to move away from dirty bunker fuel, creating the cleanest shipping fleet on the West Coast. The 8-million-gallon tank will also ensure greater reliability in the natural gas network serving the western United States.

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Dru Garson and Greater Grays Harbor receive AWB's 2019 Chamber Advocacy Award

In a surprise presentation last week, AWB President Kris Johnson honored the energetic contributions of Dru Garson, CEO of Greater Grays Harbor. Through advocacy in Olympia and statewide, Garson has embodied the spirt of AWB's Grassroots Alliance, Johnson said.

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AWB's Federal Affairs Summit kicks off today with evening reception in the Tri-Cities

The 2019 Federal Affairs brings together many of Washington's congressional members, policy experts, and your fellow business leaders to discuss the federal issues that impact all of us. The event kicks off tonight with a networking reception. Tomorrow brings a full agenda of policy panels, congressional speakers and a keynote address from the U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary.

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AWB hotel block for Policy Summit Sept. 17-19 at Suncadia Resort closes TODAY

Policy Summit is back! We recommend booking your room now, the AWB hotel block at Suncadia Resort closes today. One of our most popular events, this one often sells out. Don't miss a point counter-point with two former White House chiefs of staff, and dozens of other compelling speakers. Register now!

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Federal Issues

Senate committee approves largest highway bill in history

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has unanimously approved a bill that would authorize $287 billion in surface transportation projects over the next five years. While not a comprehensive infrastructure bill, it is nevertheless a bipartisan legislative vehicle for a variety of highway, rail and transit initiatives.

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Other News

TOTE Maritime moving headquarters to Tacoma

Nearly 150 TOTE Maritime employees will be coming to downtown Tacoma. The shipping company announced last week that it is moving its headquarters from Federal Way into the downtown building that most recently housed State Farm.

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U.S. Rep. McMorris Rodgers announces $3.9 million in FCC support for rural broadband deployment in Stevens County

Rural broadband in northeast Washington is going to get a boost, thanks to $3.9 million from the Federal Communications Commission aimed at increasing internet access speeds in nearly 3,000 homes and businesses in Stevens County.

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AWB to host aerospace industry stakeholder meeting

AWB will host a meeting next Monday to discuss industry stakeholder public comment to the Citizen Commission for Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences as it looks at whether to endorse or not endorse the recommendations of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee's preliminary report on the performance of Washington's aerospace industry tax preferences.

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Deadline approaching to report and remit Paid Family and Medical Leave premiums

Paid Family and Medical Leave reporting and remitting is underway. Employers and employer agents have until Aug. 31 to file reports and remit payments for the first two quarters of 2019.

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Now more than ever, employee benefits matter

A new suite of employee benefit programs through Colonial Life can help employers give workers access to quality insurance options.

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Local fire departments urged to apply to be part of the Holiday Kids' Tree Project

Christmas in August? No, but it is time to start thinking about the annual Holiday Kids' Tree Project. AWB members have donated more than $420,000 over the past 30 years to help families in need during the holiday season. Fire departments help us distribute that money in the form of toys and gifts. Now is the time for rural fire districts to apply to be part of this year's program. Employers with contacts in the firefighting community are being asked to spread the word.

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AWB Events & Resources

Join us at the beautiful Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum for policy discussions and networking

Policy Summit is back! One of our most popular events, this one often sells out. Make connections and engage in high-level, statewide policy discussion. Learn about the current outlook on issues that impact your business and the communities where we live and work. Save your spot! #AWBsummit19

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Tweet of the Week

A Champion Chamber Advocate

They Said It

Protecting Highway Funds

"Pay-per-mile tax holds promise - as long as money isn't diverted from highways." ~ An editorial headline in The News Tribune, emphasizing that any discussion of a per-mile tax should ensure that all money raised falls under the current protections of the state's 18th Amendment guarantee that gas tax money goes to highway purposes.

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America Needs the Ex-Im Bank

Help state's diverse exporters keep making sales

By The (Everett) Herald Editorial Board

As a "good, and easy to win" trade war escalates with China, now would be a dumb time to take a useful tool away from Washington state's exporters of wine, seafood, software and -- oh, yes -- airliners and other advanced manufactured products.

Especially so, since that tool's full utility was restored only earlier this spring after being left hobbled for nearly four years.

That tool is the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

The Export-Import Bank, in operation for 85 years, helps businesses large and small by providing loans, insurance and other assistance that help promote exports by those businesses. That trade assistance helps those businesses secure sales that otherwise might not be facilitated by private-sector banks. While the federal government provides some funding for the bank's administration, its lending makes the bank self-supporting, and it actually is a money-maker for the nation, returning $5.2 billion to the U.S. Treasury during the last 10 years...

Read the full editorial in The Herald
Trade War Casualties

The Tariff Battle With China Threatens Washington's Well-Being

By Spencer Cohen

If left unchecked, the trade war between the U.S. and China has the potential for long-lasting damage to the Washington state economy. U.S. businesses have many legitimate grievances toward China, including intellectual property theft and industrial policies that seemingly disadvantage them in China. But the longer the dispute remains unresolved, the greater the risk to Washington's historically prosperous trade relationship with China. Trade wars, as a general rule, yield no true winners. The collateral damage -- in terms of lost overseas market share, aggravated supply chains, a reduction of cargo handled at our ports, reduced investment, and impacts to households in the form of higher costs -- can be pernicious.

Washington's close linkages with China make this region all the more vulnerable to an extended contraction of trade, impacting local businesses and communities across the state. For years, U.S.-China economic ties have helped mollify impulses for more aggressive agitation and flare-ups. A reduction in economic interdependence means less economic benefits are immediately at stake from a more strained relationship or even confrontation, a dangerous scenario for the world and Washington state's economic well-being.

Read the full editorial in Seattle Business Magazine